Sara Bareilles, an actress and singer, will be appearing alongside John Legend in the forthcoming NBC spectacular Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, which will air on Easter Sunday, April 1.
In the concert version of the legendary rock opera, Bareilles will play Mary Magdalene alongside John Legend as Jesus Christ and rock legend Alice Cooper as King Herod.
“Jesus Christ Superstar,” Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera, has been a musical phenomenon since the 1970s. In 2018, this classic was rejuvenated for a new audience in “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.”
Anchored by an array of talent, the performance was both a tribute to the original and a contemporary reinterpretation. Let’s explore the highlights of this production, focusing on Sara Bareilles and other principal members of the cast.
“Jesus Christ Superstar,” the timeless rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, has captured the hearts of many since its inception in the 1970s.
Its retelling of the final days of Jesus Christ through contemporary music and powerful storytelling continues to resonate with audiences worldwide. Let’s delve into the recent star-studded performances and look forward to what the 2023 tour has to offer.
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British Theatre Director David Leveaux Will Be at the Helm for This Live Performance at the Marcy Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
Executive producers for Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, John Legend, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius, and Alex Rudzinski.
Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, said, “We are pleased to have Sara Bareilles play Mary Magdalene, and I can guarantee that her take of the traditional “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” will become an instant classic.”
“Sara gave as poignant and wonderfully sung a performance in ‘Waitress’ as I’ve seen on a Broadway stage in a long time,” said a lucky theatregoer. The hit musical Waitress, now playing on Broadway, features music and lyrics by Bareilles.
In 2016, she received Grammy and Tony Award nominations for Best Musical Theatre Album and Best Original Score, respectively. Bareilles has sold over 9 million singles/downloads and 1 million albums, earning her six nominations for the Grammys.
She has five albums out, with 2010’s “Kaleidoscope Heart” being her most successful. Bareilles’ highest-charting release, “Love Song,” from the album “Little Voice” in 2007 went 4x platinum. The song “Brave” from of “The Blessed Unrest” has been certified three times platinum.
In addition to her role as Ariel in the 2016 Hollywood Bowl production of “The Little Mermaid,” Bareilles has also appeared as lead character Jenna Hunterson on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Sara Bareilles Shines as Mary Magdalene
Grammy-nominated artist Sara Bareilles took on the role of Mary Magdalene, bringing a unique blend of vulnerability and strength to the character.
Her rendition of the song “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” was particularly moving, capturing the essence of Mary’s inner turmoil and her complex relationship with Jesus. Bareilles’ voice, rich with emotion, added depth to an already multifaceted character.
Who Played Jesus Christ Superstar on Stage?
The role of Jesus was portrayed by John Legend, an accomplished musician and actor. Legend brought a soulful approach to the part, ensuring that the character’s divinity and humanity were both on full display.
His vocal prowess, especially in songs like “Gethsemane,” showcased the internal struggles Jesus faced.
A Symphony of Voices: The Singers in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’
The ensemble cast was a mix of Broadway talents and popular music artists:
- Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas
- Norm Lewis as Caiaphas
- Ben Daniels as Pontius Pilate
- And many others
Each artist contributed to a harmonious blend of voices that captured the opera’s essence.
Grace in Motion: The Main Dancer
The role of the main dancer or ‘soul singer’ was pivotal in portraying the emotional undercurrents of the story. While multiple dancers graced the stage, their collective performance captured the zeitgeist of the era and the universality of the story.
Pilate’s Dilemma: Ben Daniels Takes Center Stage
Ben Daniels, an acclaimed actor, portrayed Pontius Pilate. Daniels’ performance provided a nuanced view of Pilate, torn between the demands of the mob and his own conscience. His rendition of “Pilate’s Dream” was particularly noteworthy.
Understanding Jesus: The King of?
In Christian theology, Jesus is often referred to as the ‘King of Kings.’ His kingdom is not of this world but is spiritual. He is considered the savior and redeemer, whose teachings form the bedrock of Christianity.
‘The Chosen’ and Pontius Pilate
While “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” gave us a memorable Pilate in Ben Daniels, another notable portrayal comes from the series “The Chosen.” In this show, Pontius Pilate is played by Boris McGiver, who offers a unique take on the character, exploring the political and personal challenges Pilate faced.
Mary Magdalene: A Crucial Role alongside John Legend
In the much-talked-about 2018 rendition, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” the character of Mary Magdalene was portrayed by none other than Sara Bareilles. The singer-songwriter brought a soulful essence to the role, capturing the intricate emotions and vulnerabilities of Mary.
Her harmonious duets with John Legend, who played Jesus, were highlights of the show. Bareilles’ rendition of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” was particularly evocative, embodying Mary’s inner turmoil and deep connection with Jesus.
Jesus Christ Superstar Tour 2023: The Ensemble Cast
While specific casting details might vary based on regional productions and tour dates, the essence of “Jesus Christ Superstar” remains consistent, driven by a passionate ensemble. The 2023 tour promises a blend of seasoned Broadway performers and emerging talent.
- Jesus Christ: The central character around whom the story revolves. A charismatic figure, the role demands strong vocals and a profound emotional range.
- Judas Iscariot: Often portrayed as a complex character torn between loyalty and betrayal, the role of Judas is pivotal to the narrative.
- Mary Magdalene: As discussed, she’s a key figure who shares deep connections with Jesus and provides emotional depth to the story.
- Pontius Pilate, King Herod, Caiaphas, and others: These roles bring out the political and societal conflicts of the era, each adding a layer to the unfolding drama.
The ensemble also includes a chorus of disciples, priests, and citizens, whose collective performances elevate the grandeur of the production.
Anticipation for the 2023 Tour
The “Jesus Christ Superstar Tour 2023” is eagerly awaited by fans, with expectations of a refreshed approach to the classic. Given the legacy of the musical, the tour promises innovative set designs, choreography, and, most importantly, a cast that can do justice to the iconic roles.
With modern stage technology and lighting, the 2023 rendition aims to transport audiences back in time while delivering a contemporary experience.
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Several companies will collaborate on Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, including Universal Television, The Really Useful Group, Marc Platt Productions, and Zadan/Meron Productions. Paradigm, Full Stop Management, and Schreck Rose Dapello & Adams are Bareilles’s representatives.
“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” was more than just a musical performance; it was a celebration of a story that has resonated for generations. With artists like Sara Bareilles and John Legend at the helm, the rock opera found a new voice, ensuring its legacy for years to come.
Whether you’re a fan of the original or new to the narrative, this rendition offers a fresh perspective on a timeless tale. “Jesus Christ Superstar” is more than just a musical; it’s a testament to timeless storytelling and the power of music.
With Sara Bareilles’ heartfelt performance alongside John Legend and the buzz surrounding the 2023 tour, the rock opera’s legacy continues to shine. For aficionados and new fans alike, the journey of Jesus, Mary, Judas, and others remains as compelling as ever.
- 1 British Theatre Director David Leveaux Will Be at the Helm for This Live Performance at the Marcy Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
- 2 Sara Bareilles Shines as Mary Magdalene
- 3 Who Played Jesus Christ Superstar on Stage?
- 4 A Symphony of Voices: The Singers in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’
- 5 Grace in Motion: The Main Dancer
- 6 Pilate’s Dilemma: Ben Daniels Takes Center Stage
- 7 Understanding Jesus: The King of?
- 8 ‘The Chosen’ and Pontius Pilate
- 9 Mary Magdalene: A Crucial Role alongside John Legend
- 10 Jesus Christ Superstar Tour 2023: The Ensemble Cast
- 11 Anticipation for the 2023 Tour
- 12 Last Words